Iowa delegates at the Republican National Convention have mixed reactions to Ted Cruz’s speech last night. Bob Vander Plaats of Grimes, the president of The Family Leader — a Christian conservative group, endorsed Cruz before the Caucuses. Vander Plaats says by not endorsing Donald Trump last night, Cruz reflected “the journey” many Republicans are on.
“He’s a big boy. He’s 44 years old. He made a big boy decision last night,” Vander Plaats says. “I’m not saying that’s the one I would have made, but that’s the one he made. Ted Cruz is not one just to fall in line, so no one should be surprised by that.”
Vander Plaats says Cruz delivered a “powerful message” about conservatism.
“I’m not sure what it does for him politically moving forward and I don’t think that should be his concern,” Vander Plaats says. “If that’s his concern, you know, people would boo that, too.”
Vander Plaats is an Iowa delegate and he was on the convention floor for Cruz’s speech. Donna Robinson of Marengo is an alternate Iowa delegate supported Cruz in the Caucuses. She was in the hall last night, too, waiting for Cruz to say he’d made a pledge during the campaign to support the GOP nominee and he was going to keep that promise.
“I was horribly disappointed and so I understand the boos,” she says.
Robinson says she wasn’t booing “out loud.”
“I’m horribly disappointed. I teared up, but this is not the first time my candidate didn’t win,” Robinson says. “You know, I’ve been holding my nose and voting Republican for a long time.”
Robinson, though, she’s “been really impressed” with the Trump family and how Donald Trump has conducted himself each night of the convention. And she’ll vote for Trump in November.
Gregg Cummings of Lamoni, an alternate delegate at the convention, says Cruz showed “positive support” for Trump.
“What Cruz did last night, by what he said and what he didn’t say, will aid in the unification of the Republican Party I believe,” Cummings says.
Cummings says Cruz could have thrown in with the “Never Trump” crowd and he considers Cruz a “statesman” for showing up last night.
“He did and said the right things,” Cummings says.
Delegate David Chung of Cedar Rapids supported Ted Cruz in the Caucuses, but he was expecting Cruz to formally endorse Donald Trump last night.
“Ted Cruz’s speech didn’t really do anything to make me want to support Donald Trump more. I was already on board, but it made me want to support Ted Cruz less and I’m sad about that,” Chung says.
Jarret Heil of Haverhill, an alternate Iowa delegate at the convention, says it was hard to tell who was shouting what when you were inside that hall.
“It made for, I think, a little bit more theatrics than necessarily what was Cruz was saying,” Heil says. “I don’t think it was what he was saying and the fact that he didn’t endorse was as big a deal. All the shouting, I think, inflated it a little bit more than it really was.”
Iowa delegate Loras Schulte of Norway says there were a variety of reactions within the Iowa delegation.
“Peeved to being disappointment,” Schulte says. “I don’t know that I found anybody there that was happy that it came down that way. I just saw it as such a missed opportunity to reach out.”
Governor Terry Branstad says Cruz made “a mistake” by squandering the time he’d been given on the convention stage. Another Iowa Cruz supporter at the convention says it might have been better if Cruz had done what other Trump competitors like John Kasich and Jeb Bush did and just stay away from the convention altogether.